HARARE – The importation of maize in the country has reached a staggering $21 million as of June 30, 2018 which could reflect that local supply is on the low.
According to a trade data analysis for the period January 2017 to June 2018 by Equity Axis, the crop’s import for June at $21,000,000 was a 2 year . Maize is Zimbabwe’s staple diet and in recent years its importation has gone up owing to sustained drought periods and low yields. However following a bumper harvest in 2017, the government banned the importation of maize as a way of controlling the market. likewise good harvest led to reduced maize imports although regional prices remained fairly favourable.
The increase came against a backdrop of low May outturn of $13,863,922 million and preceding lower figures averaging $500,000 between June 2017 and March 2018.
Zimbabwe expects to produce half of the tonnage it achieved in 2017 at 600,000 down from 12000000 tones. The decline is attributed to low rainfall which only improved late into the season.
It is worrying to see such a growth in the maize import bill given government’s earlier assurance that there are adequate stock carryovers to carter for the decline in production. The growth in maize imports therefore point to inconsistencies which are yet to be clarified.
FEWS NET earlier reported that most poor households are relying on government and partner agency humanitarian assistance for food. “An estimated 300,000 households are receiving 50 kg of maize monthly under the government’s Drought Mitigation Food Programme.
“In anticipation of the below-average 2018 harvest, the ZIMVAC estimated that from January to March, approximately 11 percent of the rural population or 1.1 million people will be food insecure during the peak lean season.